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Mississippi Power again delays Kemper IGCC startup; EPA agrees to review gas flaring VOC emissions

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Mississippi Power again delays Kemper IGCC startup; EPA agrees to review gas flaring VOC emissions

A "fancy RV park" for carbon capture pilotprojects will help extend the life of coal while reducing carbon emissions whenit comes on line next fall, according to backers of the new research facilityin Wyoming. "We do see technology as the pathway forward to give coal aviable future," said Jason Beggars, the executive director of WyomingIntegrated Test Center, at a U.S. Department of Energy and Coal UtilizationResearch Council event in Washington, D.C.

Mississippi Power Co. pushed the startup date for itsintegrated gasification combined-cycle project in Kemper County, Miss., backanother month, saying in an Oct. 3 filing that it forecasts the plant willenter service by Nov. 30. The SouthernCo. utility increased its previous cost estimate by $33 million toaccount for $28 million related to the delay and $5 million for the necessaryrepairs and modifications to one of the facility's two gasifiers, gasifier "B,"as well as improvements to coal and ash management systems.

The U.S. EPA agreed to re-evaluate for the first timein more than 30 years how it assesses certain types of emissions from flaringat natural gas production sites. In a consent decree filed Oct. 7, the EPA saidit would by mid-2017 review the emissions factors it uses for determiningvolatile organic compound, or VOC, emissions from flares at natural gasproduction sites. The agency last set these factors in 1985, according to theEnvironmental Integrity Project, whose lawsuit brought about the consent decree.

The morning after a contentious second , coaladvocates praised Republican candidate Donald Trump for his heavy focus duringthe final moments of the event on the challenges facing the industry."It's not hard to figure out why Mr. Trump is doing so well with coalfamilies as he talks about jobs and ensuring coal has a place in fillingAmerica's future energy needs since it is our most affordable and abundant fuelsource," Ohio Coal Association President Christian Palich said.

Experts do not anticipate that many states will rushto obtain emissions credits from California's well-oiled cap-and-trade programin order to comply with the EPA's Clean Power Plan. California requires that linkingprograms be at least as stringent as its own program, and an attorney involvedin litigation challenging the carbon rule predicted that many states will beunwilling to meet that high bar.

DukeEnergy Carolinas LLC will excavate and recycle coal ash from thebasins at a retired coal-fired power plant as part of a settlement withenvironmental groups. Under the agreement with Yadkin Riverkeeper Inc. andWaterkeeper Alliance Inc., the Duke Energy Corp. subsidiary will remove coal ash fromthe three basins at the BuckSteam Station in Salisbury, N.C., and recycle the material for usein concrete.

A bipartisan group of U.S. congressmen could play apivotal role in addressing climate change, depending on the outcome of upcomingelections and whether the Obama administration's signature rule to cut carbonemissions survives legal challenges.

The head of New England's power grid operator iswarning that natural gas pipeline constraints, power plant retirements, andstates' renewable and environmental policies threaten to make the region'spower system unsustainable during extreme winter conditions after 2019.

The EPA's Clean Power Plan's legal saga has had"more plot twists than Game of Thrones," according to attorney DavidDoniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council. While the experts were evenlysplit between opponents and proponents of the Clean Power Plan, all agreed thatthe D.C. Circuit court's judges were highly prepared and engaged during thenearly seven hours of questioning.

Although 72% of the total proceeds from the RegionalGreenhouse Gas Initiative's quarterly auctions was invested in efficiency andrenewable energy programs from 2008 through 2014, more than 20% of the totalfunds collected was earmarked for other purposes by the participating states.Nine RGGI states invested $1.37 billion into mostly energy efficiency andrenewable energy programs between 2008 and 2014, according to a recent report.

The president of the company heading the much-delayedTwo Elk carbon capture project in Wyoming is facing federal fraud charges.Michael Ruffatto, president of the North American Power Group Ltd., is charged with afelony for a false claim against the federal government, according to documentsfiled in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

In the Western Climate Initiative's final quarterlyauction for the year, to be held Nov. 15, California and Quebec will offer forsale more than 87 million current vintage carbon allowances and more than 10.0million vintage 2019 allowances, according to an updated auction noticereleased by the California Air Resources Board.

New York and five other northeast states sued the EPAover the agency's lack of response to a 2013 petition that sought to expand theozone transport region. The lawsuit comes as "[s]tates upwind of New Yorkthat don't take adequate responsibility for their pollution shift the cost andpublic health burdens of this pollution onto New Yorkers," AttorneyGeneral Eric Schneiderman said.